The real reason Joe Exotic wears a knee brace

There’s no denying we learned a lot about Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage from Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. In addition to witnessing his (somewhat fake) country music career and failed run for President, fans also found out why he was sentenced to 22 years behind bars. What’s more? Viewers saw the terrifying aftermath of the big cat attack at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, during which staff member Saff Saffery lost his arm, as well as the moment when Joe’s husband, Travis Maldonado, accidentally shot and killed himself.

However, there were also plenty of facts about the wild (human) figures that didn’t make it into the docu-series. For instance, we didn’t find out until after the filming why one of Joe’s other husbands, John Finlay, was always shirtless and what he looks like today (which is a heck of a lot different than how he appeared onscreen, FYI) or the entire truth about Exotic’s business partner, Jeff Lowe. We also weren’t immediately privy to Shaq’s relationship with Joe or Britney Spears’ connection to Doc Antle, who (if you don’t remember or haven’t seen Tiger King quite yet) is another animal park owner.

Maybe you’re also wondering why Joe was sometimes seen wearing a knee brace. As it turns out, the reason is pretty simple when compared to his seemingly unbelievable life story.

Joe Exotic made a reckless mistake

Fans who’ve seen Tiger King might have noticed that Joe Exotic sometimes wore a rather extensive brace on his right leg. He also occasionally walked around with the help of a cane that he seemed to lean on heavily while making his way around his animal park. However, the docu-series never discussed why he was using either. As it turns out, Joe had sustained an injury during an accident that he had caused. 

While Joe was running for governor in Oklahoma back in 2018, he “failed to yield to a stop sign at the intersection of a county road and State Highway,” according to Oklahoma’s KFOR-TV. As a result, “his truck was struck by a pickup.”

The controversial zookeeper suffered a head injury, as well as other external and internal injuries, including a wound to his leg. Joe’s husband at the time, Dillon Passage, reportedly posted a photo of him to Facebook during his recovery, which read (via KFOR-TV), “We appreciate all of your concerns and prayers. Joe is doing fine, he’s pretty banged up, but we will make it through this.” 

Joe did, indeed, “make it through.” But now the Kansas native is facing a new problem, as he was recently quarantined in prison amid coronavirus concerns.

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